Monday 19 July 2010, 09:58
It's taken a full decade, but Lostprophets' début album, Thefakesoundofprogress, has gone through the 300,000 sales mark in the UK, gaining platinum status.
While their subsequent albums, Start Something, Liberation Transmission and The Betrayed were instant sales successes, the first LP, recorded for a few thousand pounds as little more than glorified demos, was something of a slow-burner.
It was first released in November 2000 at a time when the rock scene was still in the grip of nu-metal, and the Pontypridd boys were lumped, somewhat unfairly, into the genre by press and public alike. A lot of this was to do with the inclusion of band friend Jamie Oliver, who was found a berth behind a set of decks before he was better used as a keyboardist.
A look behind the obvious scratch/riff/pseudo-rap sound of the record revealed a band less in thrall to Limp Bizkit than a combination of hardcore punk and Eighties pop. The riffs were big and the beats chunky, but Ian Watkins' vocals had more than a pinch of Faith No More's Mike Patton, while the punkier elements of the album nodded to the visceral attitude of bands like Gorilla Biscuits.
Add in the Duran Duran-ish melodic sensibility and you had a concoction that with hindsight was always going to sell by the bucketload, with a bit of spit and polish.
But I like that there's little sheen to Thefakesoundofprogress. When I first heard it, I was coming out of a time in which I was out of love with rock music. Nu-metal did nothing for me, and I found dance music provided more of the cheap thrills I wanted in the late Nineties. Then Rated R by Queens Of The Stone Age and Relationship Of Command by At The Drive-In rekindled my love of guitars.
While not on an artistic par with those records (although it has its majestic moments), Lostprophets' début was a great album by a band from 12 miles up the road, who worked in Cardiff, who were mates with my mates, and who I could go and see.
There was a lot of scepticism about the band, dressing as they did, with their haircuts and their Kerrang!-friendly poses. It was ever thus though; if you're 'keeping it real', not playing the game, you don't sell any records. If you do play the game, keep in with the press, do some nice shiny videos, then you're castigated, but hey, you're more likely to sell records.
Thefakesoundofprogress was the sound of a band finding its feet, trying to bridge the gap between the punk rock of their youth and their inherent ambition. Listen to Shinobi Vs Dragon Ninja and the title track and hear a band yet to smash onto MTV but with all the ingredients required to make a career of it.
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